07 April 2017

Labour Housing Spokesperson, Jan O’Sullivan TD, has called for Government action to address the issue of so-called ‘land-banking’, whereby developers are hoarding land in a bid to profit from expected house price increases further down the line.

It comes after the Irish Independent today reported that concern about the practice was raised at the recent Irish Planning Institute annual conference.

Deputy O Sullivan said:

“I have been arguing for some time of the need to deter land owners and developers from hoarding land and sites until it becomes more profitable, particularly when we are in the middle of a housing and homelessness crisis.

“As was highlighted at the Irish Planning Institute’s conference, there is a real incentive for developers to wait it out while house prices creep up, which in turn keeps rent at unaffordable levels.

“In our Social and Affordable Housing Bill, which the Labour Party brought forward last year, we moved to tackle this all too common practice through the implementation of the 1973 Kenny Report. This recommended that the compensation paid where there is compulsory purchase of land for the purposes of building social houses, would be the existing value of the land plus 25%.

“We also proposed that the introduction of the vacant site levy be brought forward by a year, to encourage owners to make land available for building homes and to give some relief to hard-pressed renters and those trying to get on the property ladder.

“These calls went unanswered at the time, but I am now urging the Minister for Housing to take these proposals seriously and take action so that homes are built now and not in two years, when scarcity of supply will have further jacked up prices.”

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